New Zealand women who are pregnant may not be aware of how they might be infected with the Zika virus, despite warnings from the World Health Organisation and health experts.
Key points:The US has already announced it will start issuing travel warnings to pregnant women on the mainland as the virus spreadsThis week, New Zealand is rolling out the new Kaiser Covid-19 test, which is now available to Kiwis and New Zealanders for the first timeThe new test is the latest in a series of testing options available to New Zealand’s pregnant women.
It will be rolled out in New Zealand starting next week.
It is the first test available to women who have travelled overseas to Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Peru.
A new version of the test, Kaiser, was first tested on pregnant women in the US, but is now also available to all Kiwis, including pregnant women overseas.
It’s also the first pregnancy test to be available to the public in New England.
“We can test you to see if you have the virus, it’s a very basic test, it doesn’t tell you anything about you,” Dr Elizabeth Campbell, an infectious diseases expert with the National Health and Medical Research Council, said.
“It’s just the basic information about whether you have Zika virus or not.”
While the test can detect the virus in saliva, blood or urine, it is not the first diagnostic test available in New Land.
The new screening option also has other advantages.
It is easy to use and requires no special equipment, unlike other tests that can take weeks or months to prepare, and can be expensive.
“The cost of it is really not a concern, it just takes a bit of planning,” Dr Campbell said.
Ms Campbell said it was not a good time to start worrying about Zika.
“I’m not really worried about that because I don’t know how long it’s going to last, I don, you know, if it’s the worst case scenario,” she said.
“We know that there are still a lot of things we need to do to keep New Zealand safe and secure, so that’s why I think we should wait and see.”
Dr Campbell said that for pregnant women, there was a lot to do before the test was widely available.
“You need to be very, very cautious about travel, and you need to make sure you’re really doing it safely,” she told the ABC.
“But I think that’s a little bit of the anxiety you might feel.”
What is Zika?
Zika is a viral disease that can be transmitted through the skin or through the air, or through a sexual act.
It can cause birth defects and other problems, and is spread through mosquito bites.
The virus can cause mild to severe illness in people who have not been vaccinated against it.
It can also lead to permanent damage to the reproductive system and neurological damage.
The number of cases of Zika virus has more than tripled since March, with 1,600 cases recorded in New South Wales alone.
In New Zealand, about 400 people have tested positive for Zika virus in the past week, and many of those have been pregnant.
“New Zealanders have a really good record of being protected from Zika and so we are in a position where we have the most people on the island and we have a very strong record of protecting our pregnant women from Zika,” Dr Graham Watson, chief executive of the New Zealand Council of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said in a statement.
“Our experience has been that a large proportion of women who get tested for Zika don’t get it and so their risk is very low.”
That’s not to say they don’t have the risk of contracting Zika, but the risk is far lower than it would be for women in any other part of the world.
“Zika virus test results for pregnant New Zealand citizens, by province:WA: Bakersfield: 2nd highest number of tests taken, followed by Canterbury and WollongongWA: Palmerston North: 4th highest number tested, followed.WA: Brisbane: 4 th highest number, followed closely by the Sunshine Coast and WhanganuiWA: Canterbury: 5 th highest, followed the Gold Coast, Wellington and the Waikato, New Plymouth and HamiltonNT: Newcastle: 3rd highest, after Whanganooa and the ACTNT: Dunedin: 4, followed close behind by the North IslandNT: Auckland: 2, followed a close second to ChristchurchNT: Wellington: 3, followed after Christchurch and the North-WestNT: Canterbury-Bankstown: 2NT: Darwin: 2nt: Darwin-Redcliffe: 2nth highest, following the GoldfieldsNT: Nelson: 2 nth highestNT: Waikaree: 2rd highestNT, WA: Canterbury, Hamilton, Christchurch, Darwin, North-EastNT, ACT: Brisbane, Darwin-Gold Coast